Thank you President and allow me to thank SPGS Batili for his inaugural briefing to the Council and congratulate him on his inauguration. SPGS Batili – you have the full support of the UK in fulfilling your mandate. I also welcome the participation in our meeting today of the Permanent Representative of Libya.

President, it is unfortunate that Libya’s political elite has not made further progress in agreeing on a framework for free, fair and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections. I therefore applaud the efforts of SPGS Batili to engage with all Libyan parties across the country, including civil society, women and youth groups.

As a Council, we must now call on all Libyan parties, in particular the political leaders of Libya, to work constructively with SPGS Bathili and agree on a road map for the elections as soon as possible. This is in the interest of the entire Libyan people.

President, I would also like to highlight two areas that undermine the prospects for free, fair and inclusive elections. Firstly, the UK is deeply concerned by reports of increased restrictions and a worsening of the working space for civil society in Libya. In addition to administrative obstacles, civil society organizations are reportedly facing an escalating level and frequency of scrutiny of their activities.

A vibrant civil society is critical to free, fair and inclusive elections. It is an essential component of a functioning democracy that leads to greater stability and prosperity. Therefore, we call on all Libyan authorities to ensure a safe, secure and unhindered environment for civil society to operate.

Second, President, we call on all Libyan parties to protect the neutrality, integrity and reunification of government institutions to ensure that Libya’s wealth is used for the benefit of all citizens. Reports of misuse of public funds, outlined in a recent report by the Audit Office, damage the credibility of Libya’s institutions. These institutions must be supported to serve all of Libya and all of the Libyan people.

Finally, President, I would like to thank the members of the Council for their constructive participation in the negotiations on the extension of the mandate of UNMLA for one year. We look forward to the resolution later this week. Thank you.